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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Man who ‘planted Sikh flag on Red Fort’ gets interim protection from Delhi court

The court also said that the accused would be entitled to the benefits of the Supreme Court directives on fresh arrests amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
July 1, 2021 3:20:45 pm
Protesters hosting flag at Red Fort in New Delhi (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

A Delhi court has granted interim protection from arrest to Jugraj Singh, accused of planting a Sikh religious flag on the Red Fort on January 26, when farmers protesting the farm laws had organised a tractor rally in New Delhi.

Additional Sessions Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen granted interim protection from arrest till the next date of hearing subject to the condition that Singh appear for investigation in connection with both FIRs over the incident.

Singh has been accused by the police of being a part of the unruly mob that entered Red Fort after disregarding the tractor rally route. The police have alleged that he entered the ASI-protected monument, climbed up the flagpole on the rampart of the Red Fort, and unfurled a religious flag of the Sikh community. There are two FIRs on the same incident — on complaints filed by the police and by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

The court also said that the accused would be entitled to the benefits of the Supreme Court directives on fresh arrests amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“That the investigating agency has chosen to announce reward for his arrest does not in any manner affect the gravity of the nature of accusations per se,” the court said.

On allegations made by the police, the court said: “It is not being alleged that he caused any injury to the policemen on duty or had assaulted the policemen on duty, though he is seen resisting policemen from preventing him and other members of the unlawful assembly from entering the Well of the Red Fort.”

Jugraj Singh’s lawyers told the court that he “has not caused any damage to the protected monument or destroyed public property nor insulted the National flag.” Claiming that the flag was hoisted on an empty flag pole, Singh’s legal team told the court, “It is not understandable as to how hoisting Nishan Sahib has caused embarrassment and humiliation to the people of this country.”

The Additional Public Prosecutor who appeared on behalf of the state opposed the bail and told the court that “he is one of the key executors of the well orchestrated conspiracy hatched to convert Red Fort into a protest site, and has played an active role in the Red Fort episode.”

“That in one video footage he is seen carrying a sword, in another when the police is trying to stop the mob from entering the wells of the Red Fort he is seen pushing policemen, and is clearly seen entering the Red Fort from the Lahore Gate with the unruly mob. That the Red Fort is National heritage site and by hoisting the Nishan Sahib humiliation an embarrassment has been caused to the nation at Red Fort on the Republic Day,” the APP told the court.

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